Wednesday, September 29, 2004

50 dollars a barrel, folks

Ok, does anyone out there really believe that we aren't on the precipice of peak oil? My economist buddy, Steve, told me last spring that there was no way that oil was going to keep rising to $50 per barrel. Not a chance.

Guess what, we're here. There is already evidence that the poorest people in the US
(G-d help the poorest people in the rest of the world) are going to have to start choosing between heat and food. How long before the rest of us feel the cold?

We've built an economy on oil. Not only do we need oil for nearly everything, but we need it to be cheap. We need oil to pump our water and remove our wastes, to warm our houses and cook our dinners, to get us to our jobs and to visit our parents in the Home. We need oil to grow our food and transport our starlink corn to the feedlots.

And when the oil prices start to rise, the turtle tower (think Yertle) starts to rock. What happens when we have to choose - food or gas, heat or sewage disposal? What happens when all those jobs supported by suburban sprawl can't heat those buildings or get their employees to work? What happens when the economy teeters and crashes, and there is no more cheap oil to raise it up again?

I don't think we really can fix this one anymore. Not by electing the right president, not by conservation (although it would certainly help), not by invading more countries. All we can do is be the youngest, weakest fairy godmother at the baptism, softening the curse a little. We can soften it for our children and hopefully our grandchildren by personal preparation. We can soften it for our communities with planning, for our nation by conservation, but we cannot fix it, and every minute we let slip by, every day we waste because we don't want to change our lives, every act of education we (I) forgo, we make the curse a little darker, longer and deeper.

Damnit, get cracking folks!!! Don't wait for Colin Campbell's $286 per barrel.



Bill said...

Hi Sharon
Thanks for the pointer to your blog on ROE2. I am interested in starting a dialogue in the blogosphere about peak oil but I haven't seen much in my wanderings so far. I will try to keep up with your writings and comment when I have something to add. I have a blog as well but it is mainly just a news link collector and I have only occasionally commented on the peak oil phenomenon. I am hoping to move it more towards that subject in the future. We just had an eruption of Mt. St. Helens here in Washington State so that is what everybody is talking about today. Take care.

Bill (

jewishfarmer said...

Bill, stay safe if you are anywhere near MSH!!!

And thanks for trying to get things going on peak oil in blog-world. Let me know if I can help!!!


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